Friday, November 26, 2010

Go get her, Tiger.

Recently my wife and I embarked on mini-movie marathon; films with plot involving rescuing looking for missing or kidnapped family members. It’s not that we are plotting something similar in real life, considering we are still cracking our head on whether or not to kidnap a cute stray cat near our apartment (Risk: They scratch). No, it’s just that we stumbled upon the excellent action fare Taken, with Liam Neeson embarking on a mission to rescue his kidnapped daughter, leaving behind trails of dead bodies and crashed vehicle (recipe for rescuing loved ones). Intrigued, I dug up copies of some of films with similar theme and here they are with my revisit reviews.

Commando (1985)

Tagline: Somewhere... somehow... someone's going to pay

Above pix: That’s not free-range chicken, Arnie.

Arnold Schwarzenegger (yes I can spell his name) plays a hunk of steroid laden beef on boots with passion for cigar and carrying lumber over his shoulder and this was before you get slaughtered for deforestation. He has a daughter, a young one and before you can say wait, is that Molly….she gets kidnapped. Arnie whose name in this movie is Matrix, I kid you not, is blackmailed into working with the bad guys to get his daughter back. Arnie being Arnie says screw you and goes back to get his daughter using what see

ms to qualify as weapons of mass destructions, and he carried all of them on him in the climax and by the time it ended you may have grown extra biological extension due to excessive display of testosterone (doesn’t apply to female viewers).

Here’s the trivia I found in internet on that scene, “Matrix goes into battle with an Valmet M78 light machine gun, an Uzi submachine gun, a Remington Model 870 combat shotgun and a Desert Eagle automatic pistol. He also commandeers an M60E3 belt-fed machine gun and an M16A1 assault rifle.” Yes, I heard a geek’s orgasmic cry.

Frantic (1988).

Tagline: They've taken his wife. Now he's taking action

Above pix: Wife? What wife? You free for dinner?

Harrison Ford movie with Roman Polanski behind the camera shot in the streets of Paris. Throughout the entire film Ford looked like he has a broom stuck up his ass (actually I stole this from a quote by Connery in dud Meteor, “why don’t you shtick a broom up my arsh, I’ll shweep the room on my way out”). Here, Ford loses his wife, or should I say she goes missing right before his eyes . No vanishing trick. We see him (not her) in shower, you see the wife in the background. It’s a now you see, now you don’t scene, though the pain would be to watch Ford topless.

This being a Polanski film, relied less on firear ms and more on Ford’s scowl, who never rematerialised as Hans Solo or Indiana Jones half way. Too bad, it would have been awesome, but Polanski makes cerebrally intriguing film so instead of going “awesome” on firepower, we go, “what’s Freudian about this scene”, or think about Polanski’s statutory rape case. Slow film. Okay if not for Ford’s star power. And that scowl.

Breakdown (1977)

Tagline: It could happen to you.

Above pix: I am not coming back to Disney, got it?

My favourite action star, Kurt Russell, stars not as an action movie stud but a regular bloke who loses his wife in some rundown redneck town…to a trucker to be precise. It seemed, the writer and director of this movie Jonathan Mostow got the idea for the film while driving through Las Vegas with his wife. You can quite predict what the ending he would have liked, except in the film the wife is rescued.

The film works because the suspense comes from Russell is someone you can relate to, unless you have built like Schwarzenegger or have committed statutory rape like Polanski. Russell only has his wit to use, but the climax involving the truck did turn him to action hero mode, but hey, it’s from Hollywood.

Taken (2009)

Tagline: Time is Running Out

Above pix: Err…Liam, you don’t shoot the audience. We need them, you see.

As mentioned, Liam Neeson loses his daughter and he had to get her back from some Albanian criminals. Being an ex-CIA he has instant access to technology, knows who kidnapped his daughter and goes straight to the heart of the matter in Paris. After crunching bones, shooting heads, and cutting bunch of folks, Liam gets his daughter but not without a broken arm.

In most part, the film works because if Neeson is told not to just think about his pay cheque, can act his pants off. Apparently he was told to do so and you can’t take your eyes off him, even if you can’t quite place what he was doing during the fisticuffs until you hear grunts and bones breaking.

All the four films involve the member of the opposite sex missing, the fairer one, the softer one, or should I say gals. Two wives and two daughters. That revs up the scare factor, and draws concern from the audience. Male audience want to be Arnie/Kurt/Ford/Liam while female members wish their spouses or dads were. As if.

All the four films have happy ending. Of course, it happens that way unless the lead roles are not American.

Few things cropped up in my mind after watching those films.

  1. If you want Arnold to work for you, pay him shitload of money or give him a small country or something. Kidnap his daughter and now you pay lots of money for henchmen ‘s SOCSO, their widows’ compensation, and funerals don’t come cheap these days.
  2. No matter how ordinary a bloke are you, when someone you love is kidnapped, you would automatically become an action star like Kurt Russell. Which means something like you hanging onto a truck which is already hanging threadbare at the edge of a bridge.
  3. If you are former government agent or something, information comes to you in a jiffy, so that you can spend the rest of the time piling up dead bodies, and finally get your teenage daughter who is going to marry that boyfriend you hate anyway.
  4. Arnie’s daughter? Come on…